Dec 4, 2012 5:00pm EST
president clinton to cut tax rates. many democrats opposed him then because the tax cuts were unfair, favoring the highest-income americans. to overcome that obstacle, the republicans resorted to a parliamentary technique, budget reconciliation, a maneuver that allowed for passage of their tax cuts but forced them to expire after 2010, at the end of the ten-year budget window. so we scroll forward to 2010. as 2010 ended, president obama and many democrats in congress, including myself, wanted to extend the tax cuts for middle-class families but let rates on income above $200,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a family revert to the clinton era levels. our senate republican friends filibustered that effort, refusing to allow the middle-class tax cut without a tax cut for the highest incomes as well. their hostage strategy worked that time and the president and senate democrats reluctantly agreed to extend the tax cuts for two more years. so now the two years is up and these tax rates are again set to expire. that's why senate democrats passed the middle-class tax cuts act in july.
Dec 5, 2012 5:00pm EST
president bush, president clinton, second president bush, now president obama. none of those other presidents were treated in the way this president is treated. it's something senate democrats have never done in a lame duck session, whether after a presidential or midterm election. in fact, the senate democrats allowed votes on 20 of president george w. bush's judicial nominees, including three circuit court nominees in the lame duck session after the election in 2002. i remember i was the chairman of the judiciary committee. i moved forward on those votes, including one very controversial circuit court nominee. the senate proceeded to confirm judicial nominees in lame duck sessions after the elections in 2004 and 2006. actually, in 2006, we confirmed another circuit court nominee. we proceeded to confirm 19 judicial nominees in lame duck sessions after the election of 2010, including five circuit court nominees. the reason i'm not listing confirmations for the lame duck session at the end of 2008 is because that year we proceeded to confirm the last ten judicial nominees approved
Dec 5, 2012 12:00pm EST
in northern mali at our peril. in fact, secretary clinton has recently said that mali has now become a powder keg of potential instability in the region and beyond. the top american military commander in africa, general carter hamm, said publicly just this week that al qaeda's operating terrorist training camps in northern mali and providing arms, explosives and financing to other terrorist groups in the region. so i believe it's critical that the united states have a strong and comprehensive policy to deal with this threat. i'm concerned that the current u.s. approach may not be forward leaning enough to address all three crises -- security, political and humanitarian -- in a coordinated, comprehensive and effective way at the same time. given the compelling u.s. interest in stability and security and good governance in mali, we must ensure we don't miss the bigger picture of what this situation means for the future of mali, to our allies, and to our security. the u.n. security council is now considering what they call a concept of operations for an african-led military operation. the u.s. c